SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
Need to create a login? Want to change your email address or password? Forgot your password?
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
I am a big fan of YouTube, and would, in fact reckon it the major internet advancement of the last two years. No blog has made more effective use of it than Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, which is, in fact, my favorite blog outside of Harper’s. While Andrew is off being hitched (congrats to him and Aaron Tone), a quartet of guest bloggers are holding the fort at the Dish: three I know and like almost as much as Andrew and a newcomer named James Kirchick, who I understand is Marty Peretz’s assistant over at The New Republic. Most of today’s posts are from Kirchick, and I can’t say I’m impressed by them.
The worst of the set is an attack on Max Blumenthal for his recent series of short videos in which Max visits Religious Right and conservative youth conferences. The short films became very hot items on the web and demonstrated an effective use of the medium. Blumenthal has been doing some good work in this area, and his pieces on the internal goings-on at the Washington Times and the Religious Right’s onslaught against the Air Force Academy are important.
According to Kirchick, all Max Blumenthal is doing is
crashing crazy right-wing events and making the participants look dumb. It’s not so hard to do, and this type of gotcha “journalism” is lazy and cuts both ways.
In fact Blumenthal doesn’t do anything to “make the participants look dumb,” they do that all by themselves. He does a very good job of showing the vigorous efforts underway to control the meeting’s message to the media, and how deceptive that message is. But Kirchick then strains to try to make Blumenthal look dumb. It doesn’t work—instead it’s Kirchick who comes across as a dullard.
Reading to the end I get the distinct sense that, for Kirchick, Max Blumenthal’s great offense is being the son of Sidney Blumenthal. That’s revealing.
This post is far below the standards of the Dish and Kirchick needs to grow up and stop abusing Andrew’s website.
One other thing really sticks in my mind. Max Blumenthal has been out there busily defending The New Republic from the onslaughts of Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard over the last two weeks. It looks like Kirchick is giving him repayment in kind. Remind me please: which of these publications is Kirchick actually working for? I think we just found out.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”